Mithun takes five to demolish Delhi, Karnataka gain innings lead

Mithun takes five to demolish Delhi, Karnataka gain innings lead

Rahul (92) shines in drawn encounter as Karnataka gain innings lead

Mithun takes five to demolish Delhi, Karnataka gain innings lead

 The fate of the contest was decided in the first hour of the final day. The remaining highlight of the day was K L Rahul's stylish knock that enthralled the big crowd here at the KSCA Alur (2) ground.

The start of the fourth day of the Group 'A' match was a complete contrast to the third day's proceedings. Delhi, who hung on to put up a fight on Saturday, folded after adding just 24 runs to their overnight total of 277/4. Karnataka's fielding had great room for improvement but came alive when it mattered the most as R Vinay Kumar's men gained a huge first innings lead of 348 runs.

The unresponsive pitch ruled out an outright victory and Karnataka rightly didn't enforce the follow on, offering rest to their bowlers. The hosts reached 235/3 on the back of Rahul's classy 92 (109b, 9x4, 2x6) before both the teams decided to call it a day. Karnataka earned three points thanks to their innings lead and their yet another dominant show saw them remain on top of the table with 23 points. The eight-time champions, who have all-but sealed their knockout berth, next face Uttar Pradesh in Kanpur from November 17.

Abhimanyu Mithun continued his fine form and produced another lethal spell in the morning (6-3-14-4) to run through the Delhi lower order. R Samarth's excellent fielding complemented the pacer who returned a rich haul of 5/70. On the third ball of the day, Mithun got Milind to edge one behind and Samarth leaped to his right at gully to complete a fantastic catch. The very next ball, the Mithun-Samarth combo was back in action. Left-hander Manan Sharma pushed a short ball and set off for a single but Samarth at short leg showed great reflexes and presence of mind to hold the ball and hit the stumps.

The two early blows jolted Delhi's rhythm. Gambhir, whose sensible 135 was the highlight of the visitors' innings, started brightly with two fours on the on-side. However the veteran paid price for playing a loose shot. Gambhir showed no feet movement and edged a full length delivery off Mithun to Samarth at gully. The 36-year-old's valiant performance ended at 144 (244b. 22x4) and didn't return to field later owing to 'fever', as informed by the Delhi management.  

A big score had eluded Rahul for a while with his highest being 68 for Board President's XI against New Zealand in his last seven innings. Converting the starts was the problem for the elegant opener but facing no pressure in the second essay here, Rahul scripted a smooth innings. Scoring freely on both sides of the wicket, the 25-year-old departed in a bizarre manner. Eight runs away from a ton, Rahul nudged one to backward point and strolled for a single instead of hurrying up. A speeding Nitish Rana exhibited a fine example of good pick-up and throw and executed a direct hit.

Stuart Binny, for his 118 and 2/39 was adjudged the man of the match. After settling for one point, Delhi sit at the second place on the table with 17 points.